Looking at my last blog post and noticing how long it's been since I posted helps me to realize that I was in a "mood" for almost a year. It's hard to describe it - not depression, not burn out - maybe just "lack of enthusiasm". Of course, the trip I was planning in that last blog post was wonderful. We enjoyed South Dakota and Colorado especially. So much so that I was ready to pick up and move someplace where there were mountains.
But, coming back home wasn't anything too exciting and I settled back into this "mood". The school year started okay. I had planned some really neat stuff, but for most of this year we have just sort of plugged along, getting it done because it was on our list, fighting off the temptation to do the minimum just to say it's done, etc. What happened to our love for learning, our excitement about a new book or experiment we were starting? What happened to the long afternoon tea times when everyone was content to sit and listen to the books we were reading aloud? This year, it seems like everything was forced for some reason. Textbooks took the place of "living books" because "everything" was all conveniently covered. Workbooks ruled the day because they were easy for me to assign. Sigh.
"SIGH" - that's how I felt, like one big "SIGH".
Now, lest you become too discouraged, I will say I eventually saw the light in this seemingly endless tunnel of "sigh-dom"! I'd been praying and praying. Wondering why I felt this way. Wondering if (gasp!) this was to be the end of our homeschooling adventure. Wondering what plans the Lord had for us.
But slowly, painfully slowly, I began to see light. It reminded me of the years we chose to drive through the night on our family vacations. Those hours in the middle of the night when there was little traffic (a plus!) and my poor tired husband, who had just driven 10+ hours was knodding off or sleeping and it was just me, in the dark, trying desperately to get a little farther before I had to wake him back up. But then, the sky starts to lighten and then (after almost an eternity it seems) the first rays of the sun come up over the horizon. Ta da! I remember one year my brother telling me he cranked up the Alleluia Chorus right at that moment and woke up his whole car load of kids. But it's like that! The sunlight brings new hope. Yes, I can make it all the way to Florida, or Colorado, or wherever we are going. The sun is coming up and look! There's a Starbucks at the next exit! :)
I'm not exactly sure of what caused the "light" here, except for grace. Lots of grace. But I began, all of a sudden, to see the value of what is happening in our little academy. I think, in my times of sigh-dom, I had lost sight of that. I remember thinking things like, "We don't need to study Latin. It's too hard. What's the use?" and "Why am I making my kids memorize the Preamble to the Constitution? Do they really need to do that? Does it really matter?"
Oh yes! More than ever it matters! These doubting thoughts were lies of course. The Lord began to slowly open my eyes to the truth. Just little glimmers of sunlight peeking through at random times. One thing that really helped was Night Owl's college choice. Hillsdale College is a small liberal arts college with very high academic standards. Guess what? All the "stuff" I was doubting and thinking was unimportant is very important to the folks at Hillsdale. I know there are other colleges that are similar. But even more importantly, all the "stuff" I was doubting is very important to my children! Whether they go to college or not. Another thing that has helped is all the talk about Charlotte Mason over at the 4Real Boards. A renewed interest in all things Charlotte Mason has been very helpful! And then there is the realization that, as a homeschooling mom, my loss of hope was causing me to shirk the responsibility of truly teaching my children to learn, and even more importantly to "love to learn".
So, with renewed hope, lots of thanks-giving, and some "sunshine on my shoulder" we will keeping moving on. I've started to plan for next year and I can tell you I am so excited about the books we will be reading and the experiments we will be doing. My own excitement will spill over to the children, just as, I'm afraid to admit, my "sigh-dom" spilled over. I'm ending this post with a promise of prayer for all my fellow homeschoolers. I know it's difficult at times and the gloom sets in. We start to lose our way in the darkness or feel that the burden is too great. But there is hope, it IS coming. Be patient. Pray, pray, pray! Talk to friends, spouses, priests.
This is such a wonderful journey, and I am so thankful to be on it!